Kenneth Sanborn Pitzer becomes Rice's 3rd president after serving as dean of the College of Chemistry at the University of California at Berkeley. A well-known theoretical chemist, Pitzer attracts first-rate faculty to Rice by introducing tenure and faculty retirement benefits. Under his leadership, graduate students and faculty double in size.
Pitzer creates the nation's 1st university space science program and begins a strong research relationship between Rice and NASA. He expands the humanities and social sciences, increases the size of Fondren Library and opens the university to students of all races.